Winter distribution of willow flycatcher subspecies

Eben H. Paxton, Philip Unitt, Mark K. Sogge, Mary Whitfield, Paul Keim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Documenting how different regions across a species' breeding and nonbreeding range are linked via migratory movements is the first step in understanding how events in one region can influence events in others and is critical to identifying conservation threats throughout a migratory animal's annual cycle. We combined two studies that evaluated migratory connectivity in the Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii), one using mitochondrial DNA sequences from 172 flycatchers sampled throughout their winter range, and another which examined morphological characteristics of 68 museum specimens collected in the winter range. Our results indicate that the four subspecies occupy distinct but overlapping regions of the winter range. Connectivity between specific breeding and winter grounds appears to be moderate to strong, with distributions that suggest migration patterns of both the chain and leap-frog types connecting the breeding and nonbreeding grounds. The Pacific lowlands of Costa Rica appear to be a key winter location for the endangered Southwestern Willow Flycatcher (E. t. extimus), although other countries in Central America may also be important for the subspecies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)608-618
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • Empidonax traillii extimus
  • Migratory connectivity
  • Mixed-stock analysis
  • Southwestern Willow Flycatcher
  • Winter distribution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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